3D laser scanning has rapidly become an affordable, easy to use method of capturing detailed and accurate 3D representations of the physical environment.
How does Laser Scanning Work?
A laser scanner emits a rapidly moving laser beam and captures the points in 3D space from which the beam is reflected. The use of multiple overlapping fields of view enables the compilation of a complete 3D model of objects of any size, such as buildings, process or power plants, offshore installations or ships.
The data captured enables precise measurements between any selected points in the scanned objects and can, if desired, also include colour information. This collected data is of exceptional quality and can be used either in its raw (Point Cloud) format or as a highly intuitive, photo-realistic BubbleView™.
Once captured, 3D data can be used for many purposes, such as site surveys for project planning, supporting asset operations, or even reverse engineering as-built installations into intelligent 3D design models. In conjunction with advances in 3D design software, it will be a key enabler of Lean Construction processes.
Why laser scanning?
3D laser scanners allow the user to capture in the region of one million points a second.
The scanning process is rapid, safe and non-invasive, making it ideal for surveying hazardous or challenging objects such as offshore platforms. It surpasses alternative methods such as photogrammetry in ease of use, accuracy, and the quantity of data generated.
Minimised risks and costs
By utilising this powerful technology, the user is able to spend less time on site capturing as-built information, dramatically reducing project timescales and costs. Project timescales can also be reduced from the design and construction phases by up to 80% and 20% respectively. Overall schedule compressions of 10% have been reported.
By providing the designer with a detailed “as-built” knowledge of the plant, 3D laser scanning mitigates project risks and reduces design-rework thereby also reducing costs. Laser scanning has reduced total installed cost for brownfield projects by 5-7% and has reduced contingencies for rework to less than 2% compared to traditional survey methods.
Outside the EPC environment, Owner Operators are now also recognising the benefits of 3D laser scanning. Laser scanning facilitates compliance with Health and Safety regulations, remote data capture is possible, and less working at height is required. Rapid data collection reduces the amount of time and the number of people exposed to potential hazards on site.
Support for the entire plant lifecycle
Off site, Owner Operators continue to benefit from 3D laser scanning, recognising the benefits as an integral part of their asset management strategy. Laser scan data and models derived from it form a key element of the strategy to manage a plant throughout its life cycle. The accurate, high-resolution, high-quality data forms an integral part of their asset management resources and downstream work process. Laser scanning data enables the continuous management of asset and Building Information Management (BIM) data. It aids communication and collaboration between architects, engineers, constructors and owners.
The benefits of 3D Laser scanning can only be fully realised by using the best in 3D Laser scanning software and advanced LFM technology enables the capture and use of datasets of virtually unlimited size.
The features of LFM allow the user to experience the time, cost savings and quality improvements permitted by 3D laser scanning and to enhance these to previously unachievable levels.
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